CAM is excited to launch our Reapers of Hope food drying program following the approval of the final inspection. Growers, such as farmers in the Holland Marsh, Simcoe and the Toronto Food Terminal, were introduced to Reapers of Hope. They have donated surplus or non-marketable produce for this project. So far we have received yams, celery, carrots, peppers and potatoes.
In April the first vegetables (carrots) were processed. Although there were several areas to fine-tune, some minor adjustments were made and now the process is running smoothly.
Each step is essential in the food drying process.
When the vegetables arrive, they are stored in a cooler until ready to process them. Next, many bags of produce must be opened. The vegetables are then dumped into the washer to remove any dirt. Cutting boards and two long conveyor belts in the cutting room efficiently provide an area for the vegetables to be trimmed and chopped in preparation for the dicer.
Volunteers are needed to feed the vegetables onto the top conveyor belts, trim vegetables, as well as provide containers to collect the trimmed vegetables as they return on the bottom belt.
The vegetables are washed again then fed into the dicer. Finally, the vegetables are ready for the dryer (except for potatoes, which first need to go through a solution to reduce the starch content). When the drying process is complete, the dried product falls from the dryer into a hopper which is then transferred to barrels for storage.
With a variety of dried vegetables, the volunteers will make a dried soup mix to help feed the hungry in the world. These soup mixes will be sent to CAM’s Haiti School program and CAM’s Liberia Orphan program. Three pounds of dried soup mix provides 100 servings of nourishing soup.
CAM recognizes that we are only a channel from the giver to the recipient. We need our volunteers and are grateful for each one. Funds also are needed to help pay the expenses at Reapers of Hope. It is estimated that each dollar will cover more than 7 meal servings.
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